Christ-Centered Rationale for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Whitworth's commitment to diversity is grounded in our primary commitment to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our desire to become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community stems from our desire to be faithful to the God who was "in Christ reconciling the world to himself."1
The triune God is love, and God freely created the world as an outpouring of love. Creation is intensely diverse, and God loves everything in it. Even as we turn against God and our neighbor, God's love remains constant. "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."2
Jesus Christ is the revelation of the eternal mystery of God's love for the world. In perfect humility and compassion, God became human to seek and to save the lost. God did not accomplish this from a distance. In Jesus Christ, God became part of creation to rescue creation from the inside. "For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."3 Everything is included within the scope of God's reconciling love in Christ. That is the radiant fact at the center of the Christian faith, and it is the ultimate source of Whitworth's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The Holy Spirit awakens people to the reality of God's love for the world in Christ. "When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will bear witness about me."4 As the Father sends the Son into the world, so the Son sends believers into the world with the message of reconciliation. Knowledge of the gospel leads to confidence in God's love. Jesus Christ is our hope in life and in death. Knowledge of the gospel also leads to humility. Since Jesus Christ is the truth, Christians are freed from the illusion that truth is our possession. We belong to Jesus; he does not belong to us. The gospel resists every form of ideological thinking that conflates the will of God with our own interests and agendas. The sovereign love of the Spirit of God frees us to confess our complicity in structures of injustice and oppression, to become generous conversation partners, to welcome and learn from those who are different from us, and to take comfort in the knowledge that we love because God first loved us.
Christians bear witness to the mystery of Christ in words and actions. We seek reconciliation across all the boundaries that divide us because Christ reconciles sinners to God and has broken down the dividing wall that separates people and communities from one another. We seek peace because Christ is our peace and calls his people to be a community of peace. We seek justice because Christ is our justice and calls his people to do justice. We seek freedom because Christ has set us free and calls everyone to live in this freedom. We seek inclusion because Christ's atoning sacrifice is for the sins of the whole world and because God's plan is to gather up all things in him. We praise God for the vast diversity of creation and for fulfilling the promise to bless all the nations by including them in Christ: "I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb."5
This document was prepared by a diverse team of faculty, staff, and students. After the committee sought and received input from the broader campus community, we had the document reviewed and approved in May 2016 by the Institutional Diversity Committee, the President’s Cabinet, and the University Council.
1 2 Corinthians 5:19
2 1 John 4:9-10
3 Colossians 1:19-20
4 John 15:26
5 Revelation 7:9